Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Federal government cheers as the Bill of Rights burns

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. - 10th Amendment
The US Department of Transportation has decided to jump on the vampire-driven bandwagon of No Refusal true believers. So much for federalism and the principle of limited government.

Drunk driving is a state crime, not a federal issue and los federales have no business trying to impose a program that makes a mockery of the Constitution on the states.
The idea of someone skirting the law and walking away from a drunk driving offense by refusing a breathalyzer test is an insult to the tens of thousands of people who have been killed by drunk drivers over the years. -- US Sec'y of Transportation's official blog
No, I must disagree. The Fifth Amendment says one may not be compelled to incriminate himself. I find it an insult that a cabinet official treats the Bill of Rights in such a manner. Mr. Secretary, anyone accused of a crime is innocent unless the state can prove beyond all reasonable doubt that he broke the law. I hate to break it to you, sir, but not everyone accused of driving while intoxicated is guilty. The police make mistakes. That's why we have trials.

Tactics like these by the government serve no purpose other than to poison jury pools. Beat the drum loudly enough, long enough and you can pound your message into your listeners.Of course there are few voices pointing out that these decisions often are made in the middle of the night by a person who is scared and who is not allowed the opportunity to consult with an attorney.
As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, "The 'No Refusal' strategy supports prosecutions and improves deterrence--both of these outcomes mean fewer drunk drivers on the road."
And that I think is the meat of the matter - supporting prosecutions. Never forget that it's "The State of Texas" versus the motorist charged with DWI. The prosecutor has the entire force of the government behind him or her - a government that isn't interested in a motorist's civil liberties or constitutional rights. No Refusal is all about making it easier for the government to brand a motorist a criminal for life.

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